Whilst India sends significant numbers of postgraduate students to key destination markets around the world, outgoing undergraduate student numbers have traditionally been much less. We caught up with Tarang Chowdary, Senior Manager – Strategic Alliances for IDP Education India, and Tania Arora, Client Relations Manager NZL and member of Strategic Alliances, to hear more about a brand-new school strategy which aims to grow the number of Indian undergraduate students choosing to study abroad.
According to Tarang, India has gone from having 313 international schools in 2012 to 708 in 2019. After China, India has the second highest number of international schools in the world, which means that there is huge potential to expand undergraduate growth. The new schools strategy will allow institutions in the UK to showcase their tailored USPs directly to high net–worth students and their parents at select high schools around India through a variety of activities.
Video interview (please click image to access the recording):
What sorts of activities will you be running at high schools around India as part of the programme?
Tania: Through the programme, we offer a range of activities. These include:
- – Regular visits by IDP counsellors for one-to-one guidance on aspects such as destination knowledge, university selection, course selection, visa information, scholarship information and career paths.
- – Guest lectures by representatives of partner universities, often with a focus on faculties.
- – Education fairs where partner universities have the chance to showcase their USPs to both students and parents.
- – Activity calendars where universities have an opportunity to engage with prospective students through panel discussions, speaking sessions and more.
- – IDP IELTS can organise IELTS examinations for students at their schools.
- – Sharing the latest insights, news and market trends of universities and markets with prospective students.
We recently hosted a virtual education fair at a school in New Deli. Students and parents found it very useful, as they were able to interact with counsellors and universities directly and ask questions about visas, the status of COVID-19, accommodation and more. We’re aiming to create opportunities in a time of uncertainty. In addition to virtual fairs, we’ve also hosted webinars on topics such as engineering as a career choice, workshops focused on the art of writing a perfect personal statement and IELTS master classes.
Our strategic alliances with schools and universities are coupled with our overarching support, helping students with enrolment, visa documentation completion, pre-departure, opening bank accounts, luggage and more.
Do you focus on specific career choices/ courses or is the programme more focused on university overviews?
Tarang: It’s a combination of both. We focus on the university, the destination, as well as on specific courses. It really depends on what the university would like to get out of it. We also ensure that activities are designed so that students receive a joint certificate from IDP and the university in question, which adds extra value.
What are the main obstacles facing UG Indian students who want to study abroad?
Tania: One major reason for undergraduate students failing to study abroad is the lack of exposure to potential foreign universities. Both students and parents do not get the opportunities to interact with foreign universities or explore possibilities of an overseas education. This is what we try to address by educating them as much as possible about: the quality of education available at partner universities, new generation courses, how to become job ready and generally giving them a global perspective. We try to emphasise that studying abroad, earning scholarships and post-study work can add great value to their resumes.
Why should schools and universities get involved in the programme?
Tania: It has become a core priority for Indian schools today to develop strategic engagement & alliances with foreign universities. The placement of their students in the leading universities across the globe adds to their reputations and perceptions around India. In addition, engagement with foreign universities creates a strong and collaborative higher education network of academics and researchers, providing several significant benefits to Indian schools.
As for our university clients, India has the highest number of international schools in the world after China, which means that this is a key opportunity for institutions to grow their undergraduate student numbers coming from India.
How will the programme funnel high quality students through to universities?
Tarang: We are predominantly targeting international schools with curricula like International Baccalaureate or Cambridge IGCSE where many students have aspirations to study abroad. At these schools, they tend to focus on improving speaking, listening, writing & reading skills in English, ensuring students are well prepare for exams such as SAT, GMAT, TOEFL etc. The quality of students in the schools we target is paramount.
How do you think this new schools alliance programme will redress the balance between undergraduate and postgraduate students choosing to study abroad?
Tarang: India is known for being predominantly a postgraduate market, but there is huge potential for universities abroad to grow their undergraduate intake from India. We are thus focusing on increasing undergraduate enrolments with significant cross-team collaborations. I’m confident that the internal support for the programme combined with the interest of schools around India will make this initiative a great success.
What types of schools are you collaborating with?
Tania: While we are predominantly focusing on international schools, we’re also working with local schools with Indian curricula where we’ve identified high net-worth individuals. It is of course also important that these schools are open for international engagement.
How have you identified schools with ‘high net-worth’ individuals?
Tarang: Many of the boarding schools we are working with date back to the 18th Century and are some of the oldest schools in the world. They are highly prestigious schools with premium fee structures. The parents who send their children to these schools are able to invest in overseas Higher Education. It’s in these schools partiularly where we have identified high net–worth students.
What do universities have to do to be part of this schools-driven initiative?
Tania: Institutions can get in touch with our teams here in India or in the UK. First, we will seek to understand what an institution would like to get from the programme, then we will tailor-make a programme that meets those needs. We work closely with each university to plan activities such as workshops, bootcamps and quizzes that we know will engage our student audiences, while also educating students about the institutions.
To find out more or to sign your institution up for the schools initiative, please get in contact with us on firstname.lastname@example.org.
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